We’re not in Kansas anymore…

We’re not in Kansas anymore…

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It was a night to remember. The thunder cracked so loudly in the middle of the night above our house that I lost my hearing for a few seconds. I jumped out of bed, worried about the dog and his heavy weather anxieties. Sure enough, he was in great need of reassurance and affection. Once I had my hands on him, I was further stunned by the rain—or was it hail?—thudding against the windows. The power went out decisively, without any warning. It was surely a wild night out there, I decided, before falling back to sleep.

Little did I know how wild, until I started out my front door to an early morning meeting. Branches, twigs and leaves were strewn everywhere on the driveway and front lawn. Getting to work took five times as long as usual and involved strategic detours around downed trees and power lines. Traffic lights were out, and once again I marveled at the graciousness of local drivers, who allowed each other a turn at the intersections.

The sight at the newspaper building was worse than anything thrown at us by Hurricane Sandy. We were deeply grateful to have gotten off relatively lightly in terms of damage then. But Nature made up for it this time.

The parking lot was filled with the corpse of what had been a stately, leafy tree. In falling, it had ripped off part of the roof and the pipeline of electrical lines that normally go up the side of the building. The lines were everywhere, entwined in the limbs, and one side of the road leading to the building was entirely blocked by another giant fallen tree.

My first thought as I stood looking at the chaos was that it was Tuesday. Now might not mean much to the average resident, but Tuesdays and Wednesdays are our two busiest, most time-pressured days for preparing the newspapers for publication.

So what was the first thing I did? I got a cup a coffee from a shop that was still open. After that, in rapid succession, was getting a team together with electric saws, collaring an electrician to assure us that it was it safe to walk among the electrical lines on the ground, assessing the electrical damage to the building, finding a generator to put us back in production, getting the word out to our staff, first to stay away, and then to hurry in when the generator arrived.

They all came through the clogged roads, as you can see from the physical evidence of the newspaper you hold in your hands — unless you are reading this on our website. So here we are, with the office open for business as usual, as if nothing extraordinary had happened. To me, it’s a small miracle that we have timely editions this week. But then again, it’s something of a wee miracle every Thursday when a new paper comes out, the work of so many minds
and hands.

Heartfelt thanks to all who made the miracle happen. You are all champs.